Meet our Advisors

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The New England QIN-QIO Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is made up 12-18 volunteer advisors, two to three from each New England state. The council consists of patients, family members and QIN state liaisons.

ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode IslandVermont


Donna Drouin

Connecticut Advisor, Donna Drouin

After a reportable incident with her mom, Donna was invited to be a founding member of the Middlesex Patient Family Advisory Council and has chaired and co-chaired that council for 6 years. She also sits on the CT Hospital Association PFAC, CT Partners for Health group and is President of Women Executives in Healthcare. Donna has 25+ years of Healthcare Quality and consulting experience working with clients on structure, process and outcome measure improvements. She is a Six Sigma Black Belt. She is also trained in Lean and PROSCI change management and has working knowledge of NCQA, JCAHO, URAC, HCAHPS and CAHPS, the primary accreditation tools/organizations. Donna has spoken on Patient and Family Centered Care on several occasions ranging from small groups to international conferences.

Lisa Freeman

Connecticut Advisor, Lisa Freeman

Lisa Freeman is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. Her interest in the field of patient safety came about as the result of serious medical harm during “routine surgery” that left her husband paralyzed, with a MRSA surgical site infection and with hypoxic brain damage. He lived for 18 years with complex medical conditions and died when he was 56 years old as a complication of his surgery.


Loren Arford

Maine Advisor, Loren Arford

Loren Arford is a licensed Professional Engineer and certified Science Teacher. He worked at Bath Iron Works for 22 years and for the last 11 years taught Pre-Engineering at Midcoast School of Technology in Rockland, Maine. Loren is a cancer survivor and is interested in helping others navigate the laborious and problematic system with the goal to improve and simplify the system.

Poppy Thacher

Maine Advisor, Poppy Thacher Arford

Poppy serves as a patient partner and advocate working state and nationwide to realize right care; care that places the health and well-being of patients first, is affordable and effective, compassionate, honest and safe, bringing healing and comfort to patients along with satisfaction to clinicians. She is passionate about and committed to radically transforming the way that healthcare is delivered and financed through patient and community engagement supported by information transparency at the people care, organizational change, and policy development levels.

Helen Kincaid

Maine Advisor, Helen Kincaid

Helen Kincaid is employed as a Resident Service Coordinator for Preservation Management (independent living for the low-income elderly and disabled). My concern is the use of language and terms for individuals trying to understand the correspondence sent to them from Medicare. Also, need improvement in the follow-up of calls to Medicare and how the volume is handled.

Peggy Crawford, PhD

Maine Advisor, Peggy Crawford

Dr. Peggy Crawford is a retired health psychologist who worked for decades with individuals and families living with the challenges of chronic health conditions. She believes effective communication is a priority and an invaluable skill within families but also when life necessitates interacting with the healthcare system. She joined the New England QIN-QIO PFAC, so that she could share both her professional and personal experiences while facing new challenges.


Eileen Dufresne

Eileen Dufresne

Eileen is a retired child care provider and secretary for the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center who served on the Health Center’s Board for 25 years. Eileen joined PFAC to share her experience with the healthcare field while also learning from what others share.

Randy Gonchar

Randy Gonchar

Randy is a retired Finance professional who is involved with numerous patient-family engagement groups including BIDMC. He joined our PFAC to expand his horizons outside of a hospital setting and to explore ways to improve healthcare and patient care experience. He enjoys reviewing educational materials and sharing his personal healthcare experience with others.

Mary Gorrie

Mary Ann Gorrie

Mary Gorrie is a retired associate university registrar. She is involved with volunteer work with a number of organizations. Mary is very interested in diabetes self-management and medication safety. In joining the New England QIN-QIO PFAC, she hopes her experiences can help others.

Elsie Marangoly

Elsie Marangoly

Elsie Marangoly has over forty years of vast experience in the healthcare field. Her experience includes working with patients /families in hospitals, the mentally and physically challenged client settings and in the community public health medical field. She has been involved in the East ethnic community as a leader for the South Indian Community of New England region. Elsie is currently retired as assistant director of health services from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts NRS, Department of Developmental Services. Elsie is very interested in joining NE QIN-QIO PFAC as she sees it as a great opportunity to give back to the community and continue her passion to care/help the patients and their families even after retirement.

New Hampshire

Yvonne La-Garde

New Hampshire Advisor, Yvonne La-Garde

Yvonne La-Garde has a master’s degree in Special Education & Behavioral Psychology and retired in September 2008 from a 35-year career in the field of developmental disabilities, where she served 28 years as the CEO of LifeLinks, Inc. a non-profit company serving lower NH and the Merrimac Valley.

Rhode Island

Debra Keating Cole

Debra K. Cole

Debra is very concerned about medical safety in Rhode Island. She belongs to the Better Breathers Group and she has spoken about her experiences at the Lung Force Expo. By joining the New England QIN-QIO PFAC she hopes to share her experiences to help others.

Ann S. Messier

Ann Messier Grandchildren

Pictured: Ann Messier’s grandchildren.

Ann retired after working in the health care industry for over 30 years. She is excited about sharing her health care experiences with the New England QIN-QIO PFAC so she can hopefully help improve the quality of health care RI residents receive. She is currently volunteering at a local food pantry and enjoys singing with her temple’s chorus.

Sandy Valliere

Sandy Valliere

Sandy is a retired insurance rater who has a strong interest in diabetes care and advocacy for patients in all care settings. She has lived with diabetes for 33 years and feels everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to effectively self-manage their illness. Her passion for this subject led her to her current advisor role on the New England QIN-QIO PFAC.


MaryJo Berube, RN, BA

MaryJo Berube is a retired registered nurse, and worked primarily as a medical surgical hospital nurse. She briefly worked in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in the 90’s and has worked in nursing homes. Ms. Berube is excited to help add her experience to such areas as medication dispensing and quality of care in nursing homes.

Sara L. Kobylenski

Sara K

Sara Kobylenski is a wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, and a community social worker with 50 years experience with familes, communities, and poverty. She believes that both health care and the social determinants of health impact everyone. Who you are and where you live matter. She is passionate about how stories can help to make complex systems manageable and accessible for real people.